Local Business: Hair of the Dog

This is Mooki:


Don’t let her fool you, she actually hates you. Well, that’s not true. She resents you being alive but appreciates any food offerings you might have for her. Mooki is a Shiba Inu, and if you know your dog breeds, you know that shibas are notoriously standoffish and act more cat than dog. Mooki is no exception. I have shared my life with Mooki for 6 years (she’s 9). We joke that Mooki is one part hate, one part lazy, and two parts fur.  Here is Mooki doing what she is best at:

If you are looking for a fun, gregarious, social, ball-fetching dog, I do not recommend a shiba. Get a lab, or a mutt cross, or some other fun and happy dog that needs a home from your local animal shelter. If you are looking for a dog that sheds, might not like other dogs (Mooki HATES other dogs), might be picky about the people they like the company of, is too smart for their own good, believes cats / ducks / small furry woodland creatures are moving buffets, and sheds (oh wait, did I already say that one?) then get a shiba. 

 Shibas also have a trait lovingly referred to as “the shiba scream”. This is the noise a shiba makes when you are killing her by doing anything remotely unwanted to her, like say, trimming her nails or perhaps moving her bed too far away from the fireplace, or insisting that she stay awake for more than a few hours at a time. They screech like they are being rended limb from limb. It is a horrific noise. 

Because of the shiba scream, I simply cannot handle trimming her nails and for the 6 years Mooki has shared our life, I have taken her regularly to have her nails trimmed by a professional dog groomer. About three months ago, the Vancouver business I have long used announced that the groom shop part of their business was closing down. I was left worrying if I could find another shiba- friendly groomer. We noticed a shop on 12th Street and decided to give it a try.

Barb Breuer is the owner / operator at Hair of the Dog and when we first brought Mooki in she recognized her as a shiba right away. The shop is clean and tidy, and ribbons from grooming shows adorn the walls. Barb introduced herself to Mooki, and quickly tipped Mooki’s nails, completely ignoring the horrific screeching. Because it was a first visit, she only took off a teeny, tiny amount, and asked us to return in two weeks so that Mooki would remember her, and hopefully be more comfortable with her in future visits. Barb is cheerful and obviously loves pets. I’ve heard of dog groomers who hate dogs and to me that’s like hiring a roofer who is afraid of heights. I consider Mooki to be a part of  our family, and I want someone who loves their job to be the one I take Mooki to. 

I decided that since Barb is so good with Mooki’s nails, that I would try out a full groom service. A full groom for a dog like a shiba includes a shampoo, blow dry, ears cleaned, and nails tipped. Shibas don’t need any cutting or trimming, but they do need the removal of their underfur when it starts to blow. Shibas are a double-coated breed, and under the “guard hairs” there is a layer of softer, downier fur that helps keep them warm or cool depending upon the season. They tend to blow their coats twice a year, but can also suddenly blow their coat when stressed, when the seasons change, if they move climates, and, as far as I am concerned, I think they also do it to spite their humans. Moo has been looking pretty worse for wear lately – with chunks of fur falling out while she blows her coat. Our house is littered with tumbleweeds of fur. 

So this past Saturday, I dropped Mooki off for her appointment. 90 minutes and one delightful chai break later, I picked up a gorgeous, fluffy dog who smelled pretty and clean and looked pounds lighter. She was ecstatic to see me (of course) but was feeling good enough to try and pick a fight with Barb’s chihuahua, which Barb good-naturedly laughed off. It cost me $30 and was, in my opinion, the best $30 I have spent in ages. Keep in mind that larger dogs or dogs requiring a precision scissor cut may be a different price.

Hair of the Dog is yet another fabulous local New Westminster business that deserves kudos for offering a great service at a good price with a cheerful smile. Hair of the Dog is located at 620 12th Street and is a cash only operation. Call ahead to book your grooming appointment (nail trims are welcome as a walk-in) at 604 525 1232. Tell them Mooki sent you.

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